What would your FPTP push poll say?

March 28, 2009

The ‘No’ side of the BC-STV campaign has been using its public funds to conduct polls in preparation for their advertising campaign.  This in itself isn’t surprising, unfortunately, neither are the “questions” they are asking.  It sounds like the questions are negative questions about hypothetical information that happens to be false.  Questions such as “How would you feel about BC-STV if you knew <something horrible about BC-STV that isn’t true>.”  Some people call this push polling, other people call it politics as usual.

Either way, there are several possible responses, the most entertaining of which is to turn it around on them.  So lets try to come up with our* own questions about an imaginary upcoming referendum to switch to a First Past The Post voting system,  shall we?  The only twist is, the horrible thing we ask about FPTP will actually be true 🙂

  • What would you think of FPTP if you knew that only two other major industrialized democracies in the world still use this centuries old system?
  • Would you support switching to FPTP if you knew that parties alone would be responsible for ensuring equality of women and minorities and would have complete freedom to run them in unwinnable ridings?
  • Would you support switching to FPTP if you knew that in general only 40% of the vote would be needed for a party to gain complete control of the legislature rendering the opposition parties useless?
  • Would you suport switching to FPTP if you knew that its possible for the party with the second most votes could actually win the most seats and form government? (this happened in BC in 1996)
  • Would you suport switching to FPTP if you knew that a party gaining a moderate majority of votes such as 60% can win almost every single seat in the legislature? (this happened in BC in 2001)

You get the idea, post comments if you have more ideas.

I don’t think we even need a poll to know what people would think about all these ‘hypothetical negative’ questions.

Mark Crowley


*Disclaimer: When I say our, I just want to make clear I mean only supporters of BC-STV, I am not speaking as an member of any campaign in any official way.  The opinions are those of Mark Crowley and not necessarily of anyone else.

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4 Responses to “What would your FPTP push poll say?”

  1. Tide Waters Says:

    Am gonna shamelessly steal your ‘poll’ questions, modify that last one slightly, and add it to a post on my blog. It’s a great spoof and merits distribution if for no other reason than to give us all a good and much-needed laugh. 🙂

  2. Mark Crowley Says:

    No problem, please do, just link back. There lots of crazy facts out there about FPTP that people don’t realize, this is sort of a fun way to rephrase them to make people realize how silly the reverse choice would be.

    Thanks a lot!

  3. Wayne Smith Says:

    Since we want these to be true, let’s clean them up a bit.

    “only two other western democracies in the world still use this centuries old system”

    This is not true if Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago are considered “western democracies”. There are lots of countries that use FPTP, but most of them are tiny and/or impoverished. Instead of “western democracies”, say “major industrial nations” or “developed countries”.

    Also it was the 1996 BC election (not 1999) in which the Liberals got the most votes but the NDP formed a “majority” government. The same thing happened in Quebec in 1998 (Liberals got the most votes, but PQ formed a “majority” government) and in New Brunswick in 2006 (PC got the most votes but Liberals formed a “majority” government.

    The NB example is particularly piquant because PC Premier Bernard Lord had held a royal commission that recommended NB change to a proportional voting system (MMP). Lord failed to act on the recommendation of the royal commission, then lost the election despite getting the most votes. Ha ha.

  4. Mark Crowley Says:

    Thanks for the corrections Wayne, I have modified the post.


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